When an artist writes the introduction to his own book, it says a lot about him. Sure, Adam Hughes tells us it’s because everyone he asked was busy, but when you’re the creator of art as perfectly realised and confident as his, it makes sense.
And, aside from Adam’s anecdotal wit, that’s what this book is filled with – bold, brash, brilliant cover art and sketches from his work at DC. Half of the book is dedicated to his Wonder Woman covers, a quarter looks at Catwoman, and the rest is occupied with miscellaneous illustrations of characters, including Batwoman, Rose and Thorn, and the artist’s favourite, a floating Power Girl.
Most of the covers are accompanied by a page explaining the sketch process behind the final image, as well as some wry words on Adam’s creations. And though his self-deprecating humour may seem a little silly when you consider how great the art is, it all falls into place when you realise he’s in pursuit of perfection in every facial expression and dynamic pose. And we should celebrate his feelings of failure, because it just means he makes more attempts.
It’s also great to see his ‘foetal’ works for DC from 1989 to 1994, such as his first digital art for Alan Moore’s Voodoo miniseries at WildStorm. Although it’s easy to cast loving eyes across all of his art, Adam’s at times hypercritical attitude to his own work allows a deeper appreciation of his art through the years.
Perfectionist criticism aside, he still knows that he’s one of the best in the business. Why else would he brag that he’s only ever been out of work for 45 minutes – the time it took for DC to call him after his then-employer Comico folded? That’s cocky, but with good cause. Just look at his paintings.